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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 15 February, 2020

  • 3 Min Read

Virtual Classroom and Studio Scheme of Maharashtra

Syllabus subtopic: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes

Prelims and Mains focus: about the objective and the key features of the scheme; E-Balbharti project

News: Maharashtra’s Education Minister, on 14 Feb 2020, inaugurated the ambitious Virtual Classroom and Studio scheme. The scheme will be implemented in 725 schools across the State.

Key features of the scheme

  • Objective: To enhance access and quality of education in Maharashtra’s rural hinterland by using cutting-edge technology that connects students from schools in the State’s backwater areas with a number of subject experts to answer queries and facilitate learning more effectively.

  • The State government has also come up with audio books in multiple languages with chapters in the syllabus read out by voice artistes to help visually challenged students as part of this project.

  • 195 schools had ‘logged in’ in the first phase of the scheme, while the remaining 530 schools would be connected in stages.

  • Experts from diverse fields — besides regular subjects in the curriculum — including sports, industry and politics will be on hand to impart lessons to children. The aim is that the benefits being availed by students in schools in developed urban pockets like Pune must be availed by children in rural areas like Latur.

  • The virtual classroom, with better guidance from experts, will ultimately help in reducing students’ stress prior to examinations.

About E-Balbharti project

  • The scheme is to be implemented under the E-Balbharti project of the Maharashtra State Board of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research (Balbharti).

  • The project is being implemented by the Valuable Group using its V-SAT based interactive technology. Three Studios have been set-up in the old building that hitherto housed the State Institute of Educational Technology, popularly known as Balchitravani, to establish contact with the schools.

  • In May 2017, Balchitravani, which was set up by the Maharashtra government to bolster children’s education in the State and remained a fixture in Pune’s educational fabric for more than three decades, shut shop after the erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party-led government claimed it lacked funds to support it. The defunct institute has since been absorbed by the Balbharati as part of its e-learning arm.

Source: The Hindu


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